New CEO set to lead Columbia Bank in 2020

Clint Stein will take over as CEO of Columbia Bank in January.
Clint Stein will take over as CEO of Columbia Bank in January. Columbia Banking System, Inc.

Tacoma-based Columbia Banking System and Columbia Bank have chosen a current executive to ascend to its top leadership post in the next few months.

Current CEO Hadley Robbins is set to retire Dec. 31, according to the banking system, and Chief Operating Officer Clint Stein has been appointed by Columbia’s board to succeed him.

Columbia made the announcement this week.

Robbins, with nearly 40 years in the banking industry, has been with Columbia for nearly seven years and took the helm after the unexpected death of longtime CEO Melanie Dressel in 2017.

In the months after the loss of Dressel, Robbins shepherded Columbia’s acquisition of Eugene, Oregon’s Pacific Continental Corp., in a transaction valued at $644.1 million.

“It has been truly rewarding to work with such a talented group of bankers during my almost seven years with Columbia,” Robbins said in a statement. “Their commitment to our clients, our communities and each other is unparalleled, and I am proud of what we accomplished together.”

He added: “We have grown our franchise to more than $13 billion, attained recognition as an employer of choice and made significant progress on a multi-year digital road map that improves our ability to serve clients. ... Clint and I have worked together closely for many years and I look forward to watching the company continue to thrive under his leadership.”

Stein will transition to the role of CEO on Jan. 1. Chris Merrywell, who is now Columbia’s chief consumer banking officer, will succeed Stein as COO.

Stein joined Columbia in 2005 and became executive vice president and COO in 2017.

Craig Eerkes, chairman of Columbia’s board of directors, said in a statement: “Hadley Robbins’ contributions to our company are a tribute to his commitment to serve all our stakeholders. Under his guidance, we closed our largest acquisition and have grown into one of the most successful banks in the Northwest, all while maintaining the commitment to our clients, employees and communities that has long defined our brand.

Stein, in a statement, said: “I’m honored to be chosen by the board as Columbia’s next CEO. I had the privilege of working closely with Melanie Dressel for over a decade and with Hadley for the past seven years. I look forward to building on their legacy and the tremendous foundation they established.”